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Top tips for applying for a training contract

15 December 2022

Knowing where to start on your application can be the hardest part. You may be wondering how you’ll ever condense years’ of study, experience and research into a few text boxes.

Where to start?

You know how you work best, so try not to doubt yourself as you go through the application process. Here’s a few tips I think are useful to get the ball rolling.

  • Put your thoughts to paper. You may find it easier to initially work in a notebook or a Word document rather than within the ‘constraints’ of the online form. Use the application questions as a guide, but try not to focus on crafting the perfect answer straight away. Consider your studies, work experience, personal interests and your commercial awareness. Bullet points are great, or you could also create a table, or get creative and draw a mind map. This will highlight your strengths as well as any possible gaps, and really give you the opportunity to demonstrate that you’re a well-rounded candidate.
  • Take the time to think about what the questions are really asking and decide which of your experiences and examples are most relevant.

Tailor your application

Think of your application as your sales pitch: this is your chance to explain why you’d be great for the Training Contract – specifically, at the firm of your choice. Whilst trainees across the country will be developing similar skills throughout their training contract, each firm offers a unique experience, and it’s incredibly important to highlight why you’ve chosen Lewis Silkin to begin your legal career.

Is there a specific area of law or practice area you are interested in? Be sure to mention an article you’ve recently read or a conversation you’ve had at a networking event. Does the size of the trainee intake or range of work specifically appeal to you? Explain why – perhaps you like the prospect of a high level of responsibility – and always link to your experiences to show that you’ll excel in this environment.

The Lewis Silkin careers website, Legal Cheek and the Chambers Student guide are great places to get a sense of the firm’s values and culture. Have a look at Passles written by people at the firm or reach out to trainees on LinkedIn for further insight into what we’re interested in and what it’s like to work here.

What are you interested in?

There’s no one ‘right’ way to fill out a training contract application form, and there’s no one ‘specific’ type of trainee. The Recruitment team, who review all applications initially will want to see that you’re hard working, a team player, and have a genuine desire to work at Lewis Silkin.

But try not to fall into the trap of saying what you think they want to hear. Be confident in writing about what you’re actually interested in, as your enthusiasm will come across in your application. If you're invited to attend an assessment day you may be asked about some of the answers you’ve given so being authentic really pays off in the long run.


It can be difficult to spot typos, but small mistakes can have a negative impact on your application – which isn’t ideal after hours and hours of preparation! My advice would be to take a break once you’ve finished answering the questions and come back to your application form with a fresh pair of eyes for a final review. You could also print out a copy to proofread, ask a friend/family member to take a look, or use the ‘read aloud’ function in Microsoft Word (which can be found under the ‘Review’ tab!).

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